Industry Trends

A woman on a laptop and text reading "Everything You Need to Know About Vetting New Hire Remotely"

Everything You Need to Know About Vetting New Hires Remotely

Everything You Need to Know About Vetting New Hires Remotely 1016 528 Sprockets

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to a rapid shift in remote work, but it has also changed the vetting and hiring of new employees. In fact, according to an HR survey by Gartner, 86% of companies are hiring and conducting interviews virtually. With unemployment rates increasing, it’s becoming a mammoth challenge for HR teams to find top talent from the large numbers of applicants without meeting them for the first interview. However, planning properly and leveraging the right resources can help your HR team successfully execute and expedite the remote-hiring process.

We’re going to take you through the entire process of vetting and hiring new employees remotely to ensure good hiring decisions and set your company up for success.

1. Define Your Ideal Candidate Persona

Employing someone based purely on your gut instinct can be a gamble. Not knowing what you’re looking for in a candidate could result in making a bad hiring decision, which might be costly for your company. As such, the first thing you should do before you put out a job posting is to determine what you’re looking for in a candidate. You should identify the traits and skills that are absolutely necessary (and those skills that are nice to have, but you can teach a candidate once they’re hired if they don’t have them). Establishing what you’re looking for in a candidate at the start of the process will not only save you plenty of time and money, but it will also help narrow down your search to the top candidates for the role.

2. Develop a Clear and Accurate Job Description

Next, you need to curate a stellar job description that’s detailed and clearly lays out what you’re looking for. Be clear about the open position’s requirements, including the desired skills and experience, working environment, responsibilities, and overall conditions. Doing this will help potential candidates know what exactly the job entails and what you’re looking for in a candidate, which will let them decide whether they’re a perfect match for the open position before applying.

3. Automate the Screening Process

Rather than reviewing hundreds of resumes manually, which can be laborious and time-intensive, you can utilize an automated screening tool to help sort the candidates based on their qualifications. This helps streamline and expedite the hiring process by categorizing the applicants based on how qualified they are for the position and team.

4. Conduct Pre-Employee Assessment Tests

After you’ve screened candidates, send them a pre-employment assessment test to see whether they’ll succeed in the role and fit in with the team before inviting them for the interview. This helps save both the candidate and your HR team valuable time if they lack the skills and personality you’re seeking.

5. Outline the Interview

Maintain a pre-planned structure for your interview by determining the topics you plan to discuss and the kind of questions you’d like to ask. From the pre-employment assessment test, you’ll have an adequate understanding of an applicants’ background and skillset. This allows you to focus the interview on getting to know them more personally and determining if they’d be a good fit with the rest of the team. You should come up with a detailed list of essential questions for the interviews you’re planning to conduct. Ensure your questions can help derive insight into the candidates and evaluate their ability to carry out the role as required.

6. Utilize Remote Meeting Tools for Your Virtual Interview

Proper preparation is crucial to ensuring the interview process goes smoothly. First, you need to decide what virtual meeting platform you’ll use for the interview. You also need to ensure clear communication of the meeting details, including who will make the call, date, and meeting time. Apart from using remote meeting tools to conduct interviews, you can utilize on-demand interviews (have pre-determined questions that applicants can record their responses and send them in). Make sure to evaluate the applications and interview recordings as a team to ensure compatibility.

7. Complete HR Paperwork Virtually

After you’ve found the right candidate for the role, make an offer and finalize the hiring process via tools like DocuSign, applicants will be able to sign the offer document electronically and send it back to your HR team.

Take Your Virtual Recruiting To the Next Level

A woman showing a laptop screen of the Sprockets hiring platformWould you like to find out how Sprockets can take your talent acquisition to the next level and reduce your employee turnover and dependency on sourcing new candidates?

Request a demo today or contact us for more information or for help with any questions you might have. We look forward to helping you build the best team possible for your business!

Two people in an interview at a restaurant and text reading "Why Applicants With No Experience Can Be Quality Hires"

Why Applicants With No Industry Experience Can Be Quality Hires

Why Applicants With No Industry Experience Can Be Quality Hires 1016 528 Sprockets

While it is understandable that one would prefer to work with an employee who already understands industry jargon, is familiar with the proper tools, and has a grasp on what the job entails, these hiring criteria might only benefit you in the more senior positions. However, when trying to fill hourly or even entry-level positions, hiring candidates with no industry experience might lead to a better quality hire in the long run. 

When faced with a mountain of resumes, it makes sense to focus on candidates with a proven record in the industry. However, multiple reports, such as this one by Glassdoor, say that this might not always be the case. You might actually end up missing out on the ideal applicants. Below, we discuss five important reasons why you should pick potential over experience:

5 Reasons to Hire Applicants With No Industry Experience

1. They Are Adaptable: Newbies are moldable, unlike someone who has done the same tasks and solved the same issues in a different organization. An experienced person will not question or examine strategies, status quos, or processes with fresh eyes. They tend to be cookie-cutters who follow the same standard procedure that they’ve always used.

Currently, all industries are facing uncertainty. There has never been a time when organizations needed change or coping skills as much as they do now. Unfortunately, an employee who has spent a significant amount of time fixated on the same role, facing similar challenges and using the same thought process to come to solutions, will need intense training to re-imagine or rethink a task. Choosing to bring new and unexplored talent — people who have yet to develop habits and routine practices — will present you with employees who respond positively to changes, adapt seamlessly to new company culture, and seek new solutions and opportunities.

2. They Bring Fresh Talent and Perspectives: While experience is valuable, companies are now more focused on diversifying their culture and hiring employees with a wide range of skills. Culture is ever-changing, and the younger generation is at the forefront of it. Hiring fresh talent will introduce new ideas and perspectives that align with the current market trends and expectations. People who’ve done the same or similar jobs over and over tend to fall into a mental rut. Similarly, your interviews will be more enlightening and exciting. Not only will you grow in the process of hiring newcomers in your industry, but you might land the brilliant, energetic employee you always wished for.

3. They Are Passionate: When you’re accustomed to the same routine and job, your curiosity tends to dip. Taking a chance on someone without experience and training them can help motivate them to remain passionate and loyal to your organization. New employees without experience are usually eager to learn and impress if only to affirm your decision in hiring them. Experienced employees will probably tell you how they will accomplish the job in the same guaranteed approach, without expressing interest in learning what makes your company unique. Candidates who have been in the industry for years sometimes tend to be the least creative, especially if you’re looking for someone who can rethink and improve upon an idea or a function.

On the other hand, an entirely new candidate in your industry has innate curiosity, positivity, and passion. Along with the feeling of accomplishment, these traits will rub off on other employees, which might end up positively impacting your organization’s productivity.

4. They’re the Future: Bringing in a new candidate with no prior experience, while challenging, can help foster innovative ideas. You get the opportunity to train them to fill the role the way you want it to be. Additionally, watching your new hire transform right before your eyes into a full-fledged professional is both rewarding and inspiring.

5. They Bring Diversity: Diversity and inclusion are vital in any organization. A diverse workplace yields higher revenue growth as well as increased employee retention. A diverse team improves morale and allows for exchanging ideas from different demographics, leading to out-of-the-box solutions.

Find the Right Applicant With the Right Recruitment Solution

A woman on a laptop hiring applicants with no industry experienceHiring young talent is not only refreshing to your organization, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and better ideas. You will develop a positive company culture of inclusion, challenge your thinking, and open pathways to innovative ideas, which might be the best thing you ever do.

This hiring process can be difficult, but not with Sprockets. To ensure you hire the right candidate, Sprockets offers personality tests for the interview process to ensure you find the right candidate. Our sophisticated solution combines technology and psychology to find applicants with a similar mental makeup as your current top-performing employees, ultimately reducing costly turnover. Schedule a brief demo today to see it in action!

A woman holding a sign that says "Come in we're open" and text reading "Common Mistakes When Opening a New Franchise Location"

The Most Common Mistakes When Opening a New Franchise Location

The Most Common Mistakes When Opening a New Franchise Location 1016 528 Sprockets

Some people have always wanted to start a business, but they fear going through the daunting process of starting from scratch with an independent company. As a result, they set their eyes on a franchise opportunity with relatively low entry costs and helpful franchisors. They carefully line up their finances and prepare to hire a team of employees.

However, running a franchise unit requires you to consider a variety of factors to ensure success. Although it is crucial to abide by your franchisor’s conditions, there are several common mistakes people make with franchises. Don’t worry, though, because we’re here to help you sidestep these pitfalls.

1. Failure to Fully Understand the Franchise Business

You probably know what people say about those who assume. Many aspiring business owners assume they know everything concerning their chosen franchise and overlook important details. They fail to inquire with their franchisor about topics such as business plans and recommended hiring tools. As a result, they limit their success.

2. Failure to Use Your Franchisor’s Resources

Franchisors often have resources that can be helpful to you if you meet the requirements of their franchise. For instance, they have detailed information about particular locations, and they understand how their business has performed in different areas to help you select the ideal spot. However, many people rely too much on their own information-gathering efforts when opening a new franchise location. This can lead to you getting incorrect data about the market you’re venturing into.

3. Failure to Negotiate Leases

The lease terms of your intended location might be complicated. Many landlords have leases that are only favorable to them. You might fail to negotiate better lease terms that can favor your business more. In many cases, people end up signing lease agreements with hidden charges or those that require you to pay rent based on revenue. This mistake eventually becomes too costly, limiting your ability to sustain the business.

A woman looking out the window as she analyzes her franchise's competitors4. Failure to Analyze Competitors

It’s crucial to do a comprehensive analysis of your competitors to have a viable business plan and be successful. Take note of other companies selling similar products and think about how you can set yourself apart (while following your franchisor’s guidelines, of course). Simply setting up a business in an area with stiff competition doesn’t automatically mean yours will fail, though. Just make sure you do the proper research ahead of time.

5. Failure to Consider Your Target Demographic

Another common mistake with franchises is that owners don’t keep their potential customers top-of-mind when planning. Setting up a business in an area where people show no interest in your products is one of the worst things that can happen to your franchise. Take the time to conduct an in-depth analysis of your target clients in the area to understand their preferences.

6. Failure to Research Local Regulations

Opening a new franchise location requires you to agree to specific local rules and regulations, including tax and federal license obligations put forth by the area’s municipality council. These laws oversee the franchise’s registration and administrations, sales and offers, and the relationship between the franchisee and the franchisor. Conduct comprehensive research on these legal requirements. Be wary of high tax burdens and other expenses associated with owning and running a business in the area.

7. Failure to Contact Nearby Franchisees

Contacting other franchisees who have similar franchises in your target area is crucial. They can give you firsthand information detailing what they have experienced. You can ask them to give an honest opinion of what they think about the location to make sure you make the correct choice and plan properly.

8. Failure to Hire the Right Employees for Your Team

Two men in an interviewLast but not least, you’ll need an effective team to make your business operate effectively. In today’s day and age, more and more franchise owners and HR professionals are looking toward technology to do the heavy lifting for them. Consider implementing Sprockets’ sophisticated solution to hiring. It’s an easy-to-use platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to determine the best applicants for your business within a matter of minutes. It’s not magic — it’s logic.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about the Sprockets solution!

A woman showing a laptop screen of the Sprockets hiring platform

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021 1016 528 Sprockets

Big things are happening here at Sprockets! We recently received a $3.4mm venture raise after all of our success in 2020. This investment puts us in an even better position to serve customers in the new year with feature expansions and integrations with other major hiring tools that you utilize. During this time, we’re transforming ourselves to convey our mission more effectively: to harmoniously unite the right people with the right possibilities.

Whether you’re an applicant or employer, you can rest assured that Sprockets has what you need. We’re defining the future of the hourly workforce with our Applicant Matching System.

New Name, Same Mission

While our name has changed, our commitment to you has not. People need to get back to work, especially after such a turbulent year, and you need to find the best of the best for your business to achieve success in 2021. Our data-driven platform is still the go-to solution for matching the right people to the right possibilities with pinpoint accuracy. When you succeed, we succeed!

Change isn’t always easy, but this one is. We want to assure our current customers that this doesn’t affect how you interact with our hiring platform. You don’t need to do anything differently besides enjoy the new and improved look of our company. Use our platform, as usual, to continue finding the right candidates for your team. Of course, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have. We’re always here to help, especially during transition. 

The Story Behind “Sprockets”

Have you ever really watched a relay race? It’s a thing of beauty to see a group of athletes working together, seamlessly handing off to one another with perfect choreography, moving forward in tandem toward the same goal. Like a relay athlete or a sprocket in a machine, the right employee joins colleagues to drive an organization forward in efficiency and harmony.

Simply put, “Sprockets” represents our mission more clearly. “Sentio” means “to understand,” but we go far beyond understanding workplaces and candidates. We determine if candidates will fit — and work harmoniously — with other coworkers, thrive in their unique environments, and stay long-term.

Exciting News and Plans for the Future

We’ve always been a forward-thinking company, and that remains the same as well. The updates to our name and appearance offer a taste of what’s to come as we shape the future of hiring. You can look forward to many more improvements and enhancements to your experience with our platform, especially since Sprockets recently acquired a $3.4 million raise from venture-capitalist investors. We’d like to thank the following companies for their contributions and confidence:

It’s rare for any South-Carolina startup to receive investments from outside the Southeast, which is why it’s truly remarkable how a company such as ours was able to attract world-class funding during a global pandemic. This invigorating news has us excited for the future as we look to make 2021 the best year yet for Sprockets and all of our loyal customers!

Sprockets: It’s Not Magic — It’s Logic

If you don’t currently use our platform and are interested in enjoying the success that so many satisfied customers have achieved, we’d love to help. Take a moment to book a meeting with one of our team members to learn more about how Sprockets’ sophisticated solution to hiring can reduce employee turnover, saving you time and money. It might be the best decision you make for your business!

A smiling woman explaing the importance of cultural fit for restaurant employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

Many factors go into a hiring decision. For instance, hiring managers often consider applicants’ work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. In recent years, the importance of cultural fit has become even more apparent too. In fact, some businesses have begun to give cultural fit equal weight with other attributes or even prioritize it. What exactly is it, though, and why is it important in a restaurant?

 

Defining Cultural Fit as it Relates to Restaurants

In a nutshell, cultural fit is how well an employee’s mentality and behavior line up with the particular values and culture of your restaurant. Unfortunately, restaurant owners don’t always have a handle on what the culture is truly like within their restaurant. One scenario is when, on paper, the restaurant owner supports a philosophy of letting its employees be as independent as possible. In practice, shift managers micromanage the staff members. 

Now, a diner may pride itself on its family-oriented culture, particularly if it is a family-owned business. Or it may tout itself as lean and determined. It may emphasize that its employees need to be able to make quick, good decisions, or it may explain that its employees need to be well-versed in carrying out orders. Some restaurants, however, don’t fully understand what culture fit is and why it’s important. When they do hire, they don’t consider that aspect of applicants’ profiles, and that’s a big mistake.

 

Everything Is Amplified in a Restaurant

From our experience, we’ve seen that practically everything is amplified in a restaurant. That is a major reason why hiring for culture fit is critical. There are fewer employees who work long shifts together and fewer channels of communication. More direct contact takes place between customers and every employee in the business. If something goes wrong, it’s liable to go wrong on a bigger scale.

Indeed, just one “bad” hire can do horrendous damage to a restaurant. The damage need not be anything as direct as an employee angering an important customer, although that can and does happen. Rather, it can be indirect like a long wait time, and build up to a devastating level over time. 

 

Consider the following:

Someone who doesn’t fit with the culture of the restaurant is hired. Let’s say this person resents following a rotating schedule and doesn’t really follow the dress code requirements and shows up with blue hair to your upscale restaurant.

This person’s attitude affects the morale of the other employees, who bristle at the new hire who comes in late, leaves early, and appears as they please. Employees’ productivity and morale drops.

Now, some restaurants are able to offer more flexible schedules to employees and have relaxed dress codes. However, not every restaurant is like this. Your employees need to be able to understand and follow the values of your business.

 

Limited Space to Experiment

A restaurant doesn’t have as much room as a large corporate to navigate and make mistakes. So, it’s worth investing additional resources and time to find a proper cultural match. In a larger business, someone who is a bad culture fit might affect the morale of the immediate team members, but that may be where the ripple effects stop. In a restaurant, it’s likely that everyone who works there and the customers could be affected.

 

The Ripple Effects

Earlier, we touched on a few ways in which bad culture can affect the business. Here’s a bulleted list that outlines a more extensive list of examples:

  • Bad work quality
  • Lowered productivity
  • Lowered job satisfaction
  • Decreased morale
  • Poisonous work environment
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Stressed, possibly resentful employees
  • Decreased profits
  • Lost customers

Say that Bob and Jane see their co-worker at a restaurant constantly arrive late and leave early. He calls in sick often and shows up with ripped jeans, not allowed in the dress code. He is slow getting to customers and doesn’t refill waters as often as others on the waitstaff. Bob or Jane (maybe both) may begin to question why they’re even bothering to be productive employees when this guy does what he wants and gets paid the same as them. They resent the employee and begin to think less of their boss for hiring this person. Bob or Jane leave the position, and the search must begin anew for another employee.

Even if your restaurant is laid-back, a poor culture fit can still be harmful. Take a coastal restaurant that encourages employees to wear T-shirts and shorts. A new employee is hired who checks off all the hard skills on paper. Everyone’s excited, but problems may arise quickly if this employee shows up each day wearing a button-down shirt and slacks. For instance, the employee may not mesh with other team members and lose motivation to work. It’s costly to keep an unproductive worker around, and if that worker leaves, to go through another hiring process.

 

Diversity Is Important

You can still have diversity in your small business while hiring for cultural fit. Actually, having a diverse workforce can help your business become quite successful. We want to emphasize that a cultural match does not equal hiring people from the same backgrounds and with similar experiences.

 

Nailing Down the Fit

To be sure, business culture can be tough to nail down. Since it’s important that everyone in the business aligns with its values, how can a business succeed if half of the employees are creative thinkers and half are more rigid thinkers? It’s because culture goes deeper than that. What type of thinker you are matters less than attributes such as self-awareness and ability to collaborate effectively. So, a business filled with employees who practice different methods of thinking/approaching problems can still be extremely profitable. These employees just have to align with a company culture of, say, respect, and collaboration. Having diverse people in your business is an excellent thing, but the culture fit still needs to be there.

 

Practicalities Matter

On the most basic and practical level, the right employees matter for restaurants because they don’t have as much time and resources to spend on hiring. When you hire the right type of person, you hopefully won’t be hiring all over again in a few months when that person leaves. On a deeper level, making several poor hires for culture (or even just one bad hire) may lead to a toxic work environment and hurt the bottom line of your restaurant. If the restaurant keeps hiring people who don’t work out, there may be a mismatch between the perceived (“on paper”) culture and the actual culture. Alternatively, hiring processes may need to be changed, and the people doing the hiring should become more aware of cultural issues.

Overall, making the right hire for a business is important to employee morale, productivity, and the bottom line. To ensure you’re hiring the best matches for your restaurant, learn about Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System.

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry 150 150 Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the quick-service market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. Here’s an early take on the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 

The good…

 

QSR’s thrive during economic hardship

During the last economic recession, the general public turned to more convenient and cost-effective food rather than fast-casual and fine dining. 

After the housing crash in 2008, as an example, Subway added 6,000 locations to keep up with demand (Forbes), McDonald’s grew revenue by 4.5%, and Yum Brands outperformed the S&P 500 (Yahoo Finance). 

Restaurant Brands International’s CEO Jose Cil recently shared in their earnings report: “we’re encouraged by early signs of improvement in sales trends across many of our major markets”. 

 

Many QSR brands are growing during COVID-19

For the third consecutive week, restaurant chains witnessed year-over-year same-store sales improvement versus the previous period (Black box Intelligence). Papa John’s had its strongest month ever while adding 1,000,000 people to their loyalty program (QSR). Domino’s and Pizza Hut added nearly 40,000 employees to manage the overflow of delivery orders (Business Insiders). Popeye’s Chicken increased sales by 30% in Q1 (RBI Earnings Report). 

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski shared his belief that during uncertain and frightening times, people will turn to the “familiar”. “Our overall view is as markets start to open up this desire to really return to familiar favorites, to brands that are known is very, very powerful. And I think the fact that we also have a strong orientation toward convenience and value that I think are also two key elements.”

 

Less competition

This is a hard, sobering fact for the restaurant space. As the world re-opens, there will be fewer and limited independent restaurants. Most independents were forced to shut their doors, lay off their staff, and halt operations without the support from a franchisor. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the James Beard Foundation found that 80% of independents weren’t sure their restaurant would survive this crisis. For those who survive, about 60% describe their revenues as “severely depressed” (National Bureau of Economic Research). 

 

The bad…

 

Hiring just got very complicated

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, nearly 30 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. As of April 15th, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

As other industries shutter, you should expect far more applicant flow. What may seem like a blessing, however, could lead to more time spent in the hiring process. It will be overwhelming for your hiring managers to sift through the hundreds, and even thousands, of resumes to find the right applicants. Do you feel confident that your team will pick the right people? 

 

Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the QSR industry. COVID-19 will accelerate that further. Here are a few obstacles our users are facing are they strive to retain your team. 

  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID has slashed this number significantly (Vox)
    • The average cost for two young children outside school in more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress)
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association). 
  • Employees make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Employees are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • As of May 8, nearly 1.3 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That number is expected to increase. 
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Act grants workers the right to refuse to work if they believe workplace conditions could cause them serious imminent harm (Time Magazine). 
    • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) states that workers do not need to go to work if they feel unsafe for “health and safety reasons (Time Magazine)”. 

 

The Ugly…

 
QSR’s will struggle to hire the right people because of their current technology.

We started 2020 with historic low unemployment rates. Many hiring software solutions are therefore built to solve the “labor shortage” problem and neglect proper screening features. As your team must get more selective and efficient, one-click applications and QSR social networks are no longer the only software you need. It is important that you have a screening tool to help automate the influx of new candidates from 15%+ unemployment. 

 

Turnover will get very, very expensive.

With an uncertain economic future, one way to control costs is to reduce your turnover. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, it costs $4,969 to hire, train, and replace an hourly worker. With a staff of 50, you’ll need to hire roughly 66 people (or 5.5 per month). That’s if you maintain the industry average turnover rate of 132%. So, hiring 66 people for $4,969 equals $327,954 in turnover costs. This includes, but is not limited to, resources to interview, train, and onboard. 

 


 

At Sprockets, we are striving to learn from our customers daily. We currently help operators in brands like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A with hiring the right people and reducing turnover. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you. 

 

Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers

Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the home healthcare market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. 

The good news is there are signs of increased business as patients shift from assisted living to home health. The bad news is that owners and hiring managers are busier than ever before. 

Our hope is that this article will provide some insight into the various challenges facing home healthcare based on what we are hearing from our clients. 

 

An increase in caregiver applicants is straining the hiring process

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, 22 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. 

As of April 15, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

What we’ve heard from our clients:
  • “We are anxious to move forward with implementing Sprockets, as we have had an increase in applications due to the fact that we are still hiring when so many are now unemployed.” 
  • “We are seeing a HUGE influx of caregiver applicants. It’s hard to even manage.” 

 

Home-health patient loads are growing, increasing demand on caregiver staffing

Home Healthcare Aide is now the third fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This statistic is the result of home-health locations seeing patients in need of less intensive care shifting from hospitals and assisted living facilities to isolation friendly home healthcare. The prevailing thought is this trend will remain in place through 2021 as a societal shift occurs in caregivers.

Below are a collection of hot takes from various industry leaders:
  • Kevin Colman, president of Home Healthcare Solutions: “I’m preparing for each day to probably get busier,” he said, predicting home-based care providers to see business peak in the next few weeks. “We are anticipating … patients being discharged [from hospitals quicker] and coming back to their homes or their communities, which [means] a whole separate set of risks.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Jennifer Sheets, CEO of Interim Healthcare: “We’re preparing for a surge of patients coming out of the hospital, and we’re already taking care of COVID-19 patients now. Certainly, I think that’s going to increase pretty quickly as we get further down the curve of COVID-19 exposure.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Greg Davis, the Owner of Patriot, said his business has surged as patients who need less intensive forms of care are discharged by hospitals trying to free up beds for anticipated COVID-19 cases. (Washington Post)

 

Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the home health industry due in large part to the U.S. is in a good economy with a tight labor market. While the economic shift caused by COVID-19 has minimized turnover due to a tight labor market and reduced sourcing issues, it has created some unique challenges.

The following evidence points to new turnover risks owners must mitigate:

 

  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID-19 has slashed this number significantly (Vox).
    • The average cost for two young children outside school is more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress).
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association).
  • Caregivers make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Caregivers are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • “Eric Bloniarz of FirstLight Home Care, said some of his employees have begun staying home out of fear of the virus, putting added pressure on those, like Brownlee, who continue to work. To pick up the slack, he has started recruiting new aides from the growing ranks of workers laid off from struggling bars and restaurants over the past two weeks.” (Washington Post)
A businessman

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers 2048 1365 Sprockets

As COVID-19 pushes through the United States, home health and assisted living providers are facing new operational challenges. For our clients, caregiver staffing is at the forefront of these demands as more patient care shifts to one-on-one assistance.

While Sprockets continues to help home health providers replicate their top-performing caregivers and navigate their immediate hiring needs, we want to share the insights and industry outlooks uncovered along the way. This article is a collection of those insights and outlooks as they relate to caregiver staffing.

 

Caregivers consider unemployment

Over the past few weeks, the federal government went to great lengths to provide relief for both individuals and business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. An unfortunate side effect of this relief effort is individuals considering unemployment as a more lucrative option than remaining employed. 

This is due to the extra $600 in relief given to individuals who file unemployment as a result of losing their job due to COVID-19. In the hourly workforce, this could mean making more while being unemployed than to remain in a current position. 

Not many of our clients have mentioned this issue, but those that have are reacting in a couple of ways:

  • Hazard Pay – Increasing caregiver hourly rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Staffing Up – With increased unemployment nationwide, providers are seeing an influx in candidates. By ramping up interviewing, they are prepared to replace caregivers that are unable to work for any reason.

 

Digital caregiving

Providing care is a hands-on task, but in a world where minimal contact is required, providers are having to quickly adopt a digital-first mentality. Sprockets’ clients are reporting their digital transformations in a few key areas:

  • Recruitment & Onboarding – Hiring managers are shifting to online screening and interviews with caregivers. This means using tools like Sprockets to quickly match applicants against current top-performing caregivers, conducting video conference interviews with Google Hangouts or Zoom Meetings, and handling onboarding through training videos and web-enabled documents. 
  • Caregiving – Operations managers have implemented digital check-ins via surveys or video conferences to ensure a caregiver working remotely is fit to visit with a patient. In other words, they are asking a series of questions to determine if the caregiver may be at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially not able to provide care.
  • Compensation – COVID-19 has placed additional strain on individuals’ ability to meet their financial obligations. As a way to meet the immediate needs of their caregivers, some providers are embracing software that allows employees to be paid in an on-demand fashion. Tools like DailyPay and FlexWage allow employers to provide a flexible digital alternative to their typical pay frequency.

 

Recruiting from other industries

As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has created an unfortunate opportunity to meet the staffing demands that previously and currently face home health. With other industries dependent on hourly employees like restaurants and hospitality forced to layoff employees, home health providers are finding a new applicant pool for sourcing. 

While recruiting in other industries is a great way to counteract the previously tight labor market for caregivers, we are advising Sprockets users that screening is more important than ever. Understanding an applicant’s mental makeup before they shift into a caregiver position helps providers know they have the “right skill set” for the job.

 

As we continue to get insights from other home health providers using Sprockets, we will post another staffing roundup in the weeks to come. If you have any current strategies you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Home Health Care Staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients

Home Health Care Staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients Sprockets

Home Health providers are no strangers to working in the face of acute outbreaks. Providers previously showed their ability to protect patients during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and again during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. According to industry experts, home health providers should be prepared for an influx of patients due to COVID-19.

Now is one of those times where the industry, its leaders, and their staff are truly being tested. With that in mind, our team spoke with some of our home care clients about how they are handling staffing during this trying time. Our hope is these insights help owners and managers strategize for how to handle an influx of patients as well as people applying to be caregivers.

**These insights have come from conversations with owners of Home Instead, Visiting Angels, Right At Home and other home health brands nationwide.**

 

“We lost a few of our caregivers one day, and the next we saw 100s of new caregiver applicants. We are needing to be agile when it comes to hiring.”

BrightStar Care Operator in California

 

Be prepared to over-staff
Just about every owner I spoke with is increasing their hiring in preparation for some subset of their staff getting sick, needing to be out of work, or deciding they are not comfortable seeing patients. Also, with kids staying home from school, many of their caregivers are looking to reduce or rearrange shifts in order to accommodate the new normal.

Our clients are taking a page from other industries that ramp staffing during the holidays and bringing on applicants under the agreement that they are temporary for the foreseeable future. One tactic they are using is messaging all previous applicants and asking them to reapply. Previously, our team has found that 32% of previous applicants will reapply through the Sprockets platform when prompted.

 

Handling an influx of applicants
As other industries dependent on the hourly workforce scale down their staff, Home Health care locations are seeing an influx of applicants. Not all of our clients need this many staff members, but don’t want to miss out on what they are calling “an unfortunate opportunity”. When asked to explain, they helped me understand that they don’t want to miss out on quality applicants. Sourcing is not always easy in Home Health, so they want to make sure they don’t pass on an applicant that could be a great hire in the future.

What we found is these locations are still sending applicants through the Sprockets system to be scored and archived for future hiring needs. The prevailing thought is that when they need to potentially over-staff, or a staff member gets sick, they will have a group of pre-qualified applicants to call.

 

Who’s suited to provide patient care?Someone providing home healthcare to an elderly woman on the stairs

Asking a caregiver to go into someone’s home in the face of a pandemic can be just as unnerving for that person and it is for the patient that is allowing them into their home. What our clients have found is that a certain subset of their staff is not comfortable providing care during this time period.

With that said, other caregivers don’t waiver. This all comes down to the personality of the individual. What we have started to advise our clients to do, is understand the personality profile of the caregivers that are still willing to work and compare the influx of new applicants to those individuals. Home health owners are using Sprockets to help them isolate which applicants have the right mental makeup for this type of work in the climate of COVID-19.

 

Making the difficult choice
While most of the owners I spoke with are positive about how to handle staffing, some are worried about how to keep their best staff members should they need to suspend operations. Responses ranged from making choices based on past performance to simply instituting a last-one-in, first-one-out policy.

Of course, the advice our customer service team provided was to add objective data to the mix. By knowing who your top performers are, regardless of tenure, you have a better understanding of who is working well for your location.

 

Patient care and hiring will continue…
Our clients feel prepared to handle the trying times that COVID-19 has brought. They know they will continue to need quality caregivers and that hiring will remain as constant in their business as demand for in-home care. Again, our hope is the lessons our clients have taught us will be helpful to you and your business.

QSR staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients

QSR staffing during COVID-19: Lessons from our clients Sprockets

QSR owners are used to making a thousand decisions a day. Quick-service has by design been built to move fast. Regrettably, the COVID-19 pandemic is outside our control and forcing us to make major changes quickly to ensure public safety as well as the longevity of our businesses.

Now is one of those times where the industry, its leaders, and our staff are truly being tested. With that in mind, our team spoke with some of our clients about how they are handling staffing during this trying time. Our hope is these insights help owners, managers, and everyone front and back-of-house regain control of staffing during uncontrollable times.

**These insights have come from conversations with owners of Taco Bell, Mcdonald’s, Chick-fil-A and other QSR brands nationwide.**

A sign that reads "NOW HIRING"

 

“People still need to eat, so we have to be prepared to keep serving!”

QSR Operator in Texas.

 

 

 

Be prepared to over-staff
Just about every owner I spoke with is increasing their hiring in preparation for some subset of their staff getting sick or needing to be out of work. With kids staying home from school, many of their staff members are looking to reduce or rearrange shifts in order to accommodate the new normal.

Our clients are taking a page from other industries that ramp staffing during the holidays and bringing on applicants under the agreement that they are temporary for the foreseeable future. One tactic they are using is messaging all previous applicants and asking them to reapply. Previously, our team has found that 32% of previous applicants will reapply through the Sprockets platform when prompted.

 

Handling an influx of applicants
As other sectors within foodservice, in particular casual and fine dining, and the hourly workforce scale down their staff, QSR locations are seeing an influx of applicants. Not all of our clients need this many staff members, but don’t want to miss out on what they are calling “an unfortunate opportunity”. When asked to explain, they helped me understand that they don’t want to miss out on quality applicants. Sourcing is not always easy in QSR, so they want to make sure they don’t pass on an applicant that could be a great hire in the future.

What we found is these locations are still sending applicants through the Sprockets system to be scored and archived for future hiring needs. The prevailing thought is that when they need to potentially over-staff, or a staff member gets sick, they will have a group of pre-qualified applicants to call.

 

A man in a pizza shopCross-training employees
As dining areas close, drive-thru and delivery sales are on the rise. Many of our clients are focusing on cross-training staff members to take on new roles. An owner of a pizza chain is using Sprockets to identify which staff members compare well to their top-performing employees in other job roles. Doing so has made it easy to know which employees to shift into various roles based on their personality as opposed to previous experience, which many don’t have. This cross-training has allowed them to keep from reducing staff hours as well as handle the influx in delivery and drive-thru sales.

 

Displaying staff preparedness to clients
QSR’s focus on customer service and thoroughness is putting the industry in a unique position to cater to our customers’ concerns. What I mean by this is we naturally take safe serve precautions in our daily routines at a restaurant and put the needs of our customers first. Now it’s crucial to communicate what we’ve always done (i.e. wash our hands, wear gloves, etc.) as a way to show the patrons that they can trust ordering from our location.

Owners are taking steps to train staff members to almost “make a show” of these routines in order to boost consumer confidence and patronage. What has always been the issue with these routines, is selecting staff members mature enough to take them seriously. The owners I spoke with are being hypervigilant in watching how staff members react and dismissing those not taking things seriously.

 

Who’s your “Hurricane Crew”?
Growing up in the restaurant industry in Charleston, SC I became very familiar with the “Hurricane Crew”. These are your staff members that have a strong sense of community and want to serve others in trying times. Taking shifts during major storms was a bit of a “badge of honor” and staff members truly felt pride in feeding the community during a recovery.

While COVID-19 will be with us much longer than a hurricane, our local clients are still taking the time to identify which staff members are willing to be part of the crew if they are forced to be short-staffed. The advice we received is to not only identify the individuals for those types of long hour grinds, but to also have an “emergency shift schedule” preplanned for a two-week period.

 

Making the difficult choice
While most of the owners I spoke with are positive about how to handle staffing, some are worried about how to keep their best staff members should a location need to shut down. Responses ranged from making choices based on past performance to simply instituting a last-one-in, first-one-out policy.

Of course, the advice our customer service team provided was to add objective data to the mix. By knowing who your top performers are, regardless of tenure, you have a better understanding of who is working well for your location. In addition, we recommended looking at how team members compared from one location to another. Our platform can identify if a middle-range performer may actually be a top performer at a different location under another GM. Our clients already use this process when routing new applicants to specific job roles or locations based on their match score.

 

Filling orders and hiring will continue…
Our clients feel prepared to handle the trying times that COVID-19 has brought. They know they will continue to need a quality staff and that hiring will remain as constant in their business as the food they serve. Again, our hope is the lessons our clients have taught us will be helpful to you and your business.